This was my first major commission as a prop maker. It was also a very unique build as it combines 2 different styles of Caitlyn's gun into a completely new product. I had a long window to complete this one, which left room for trying new things and experimentation. In the end this was a really fun build, so lets get to it!
I start the same way most prop makers and fabricators do; blueprinting and printing out full size. I don't have the luxury of printing things on one giant sheet of paper, so the page/tape method will have to do!
The build of one-off pieces is a bit different than the build method you would use for pieces that will be put under silicone and cast in resin. This piece was going to have a final length of 56 inches. This means, for the sake of transportation, it will have to be able to be broken down and put back together again with ease.
These core sections were traced on a sheet of 1/2 inch MDF and then cut out using a scroll saw.
A bit of a rough job on some of these, but they will be hidden under foam later.
With the frame cut out, it's time to assemble the base! All of the pieces were slid into place, glued and clamped until set. The short explanation of this framework design is to allow the barrel to be removable while reducing weight and adding strength to the overall structure while keeping the barrel straight and true in conjunction with the stock. It's a bit hard to fully articulate without a video. [note to self, make videos]
Lastly, A short notch was cut into the PVC to keep the barrel from twisting out of alignment.
For the muzzle, I stacked and glued 4 pieces of 1/2 inch MDF and turned it on my lathe. Any time you cut or carve MDF, it leaves a very rough surface. While still on the lathe, I reduced the RPM's and used a brush to give it a very thin coat of wood glue to create a nice seal.
Safety note: The lathe I use is very underpowered and would stall before doing any harm should an accident occur. I highly do NOT recommend this method on any respectable lathe. Proceed with caution!
With all the groundwork done it was time for a test fit!
The final step to completing the base was to wrap the cylindrical frame with foam. I used a foam ruler [A tip I borrowed from my buddy Will @ WM Armory] to get a set of precise measurements, then proceeded to cut the required shape with a razor.
The foam base was then shaped into a 'sleeve' and glued onto the MDF frame with super glue. Wiring was also completed as this stage before the finishing layers were put into place.
With our base complete we can now move onto our next step. Again, all of those ugly seams and edges will be covered with with our detail layer in part 2! Stay tuned!